Black Sounds Matter


Thursday, February 17, 2022 at 4:30pm

FREE! Reservations required.

Ruth Naomi Floyd
Vocalist/Composer, Frederick Douglass Jazz Works
Frederick Douglass: Music of Justice and Protest

Marichal Monts '85
Conductor of Ebony Singers, Wesleyan University
Pastor, Citadel of Love
My Story, My Song: Sacred Songs That Bring Strength in the Struggle of Life 

Moderated by Professor of Music Jay Hoggard.



Ruth Naomi Floyd is an Emancipatory Artist, who has focused on the arts and justice work throughout her career. A vocalist and composer, Ms. Floyd leads her multi-faceted ensemble, and her discography consists primarily of original compositions. She performs and lectures on the intersection of beauty, theology, justice, and culture around the world. The Frederick Douglass Jazz Works is Ms. Floyd’s latest body of compositions for jazz septet, based on the speeches and writings of the great leading orator, abolitionist, writer, publisher, and statesman. This body of work won the Best Vocal Recital Award at the San Francisco Classical Voice Audience Choice Awards for 2020–2021. Ms. Floyd was commissioned by Intercultural Journeys for a new body of work, which the National Endowment for the Arts awarded a Project Grant in May 2021. This body of work, The Frances Suite, will explore the life, advocacy, and literary work of Frances Ellen Watkin Harper, and will feature an all-female ensemble of color. The Orrin Evans Trio, featuring Ms. Floyd, was named one of NPR Music’s Best Live Sessions of 2021 for their powerful anthem of liberation, the African American spiritual “Oh Freedom.” A committed music educator, Ms. Floyd is the first African American woman to serve as Founding Director of a university jazz program in the United States. Currently, she is an Artist in Residence at Temple University. In December 2019, Concordia College New York awarded Ms. Floyd an Honorary Doctorate for her unique and valuable contribution to the arts, her commitment to music education, and her justice work.

Marichal Monts is an alumnus of Wesleyan and has conducted the University’s award winning Ebony Singers for over 35 years. He is the Senior Pastor of the Citadel of Love in Hartford, Connecticut, and a Chaplain for the Hartford Police Department and the Connecticut State Legislature. He is the author of three books, Ordered Steps, Just Like My Father, and Mindfully Me. 

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